I refer the Deputy to the reply to Question No. 151 and other associated questions of today regarding the review of local and community structures.
My Department has, in the past, contracted with 13 regional support agencies to deliver training and support to projects funded under the community development support programme, CDSP. In 2003, the cost of providing this support came to some €3.4 million. That represents almost 17% of the total amount spent on the programme last year. In order to maximise the spend for communities themselves and to bring investment on training and administrative supports for the CDSP more into line with the costs of other programmes under the remit of my Department, I embarked on a process last year of restructuring arrangement involving regional support agencies.
One of the key issues identified in the review of local and community development structures undertaken by my Department is the complexity and multiplicity of structures and programmes for the provision of local and community services. In this context, the Government has decided to streamline arrangements involving regional support agencies and to reduce the number of such agencies with which the Department has a contract under the CDSP. Accordingly, I will shortly be inviting tender proposals from agencies to provide training and administrative supports to projects funded under the CDSP in six regions, that is, Dublin South, Dublin North, South East, South West, West-Midlands, and the Northern region.
The measures I have outlined will achieve the objective of refocusing investment on community development activity and improve coherence between local and community development programmes.